"Am I audible?" this is one of the numerable times a teacher would ask their students, in his or her 50 minutes lecture. This is not because s/he has a bad throat but this is one of the pitfalls of presiding over a virtual classroom.
The pandemic and the subsequent lockdown has introduced the virtual classrooms with lectures of all courses and classes being conducted online. The virtual lectures have replaced the physical classes, for the time being.
But just like a coin, the virtual classes too have its own goods and bads.
"I have to literally ask am I audible, at least a hundred times because in this online platform we have no idea if our students are able to hear our voice of not. And half the time of my 50 minutes lecture goes into this," said Aarti Adiwal, a visiting faculty for Bachelors of Mass Media (BMM) course.
"Not only this, I have to ask students after explaining every concept, if they understood it or not. And then have to wait like at least for five minutes for students to respond as they are usually on mute mode," she added.
Sharing her experience, Kalpna Rai-Menon, the course coordinator of BMM department at SM Shetty College, Powai, said that she misses the old physical classrooms.
"I miss the physical presence of students and the ability to read their body language and expressions to figure out whether they have understood a concept or not," the professor said, adding that online lectures, though convenient but have certain issues too.
"In online classes, I dislike the technical lags that happen sometimes. These lags are either pertaining to video or audio. And the spats if silence between my question and their response, especially when the video if turned off," she said.
Prof. Kalpna, however, confessed that she liked the "convenience of sitting at home and taking class" and the ease of sharing videos and files to students.
Similar was the experience of Santosh Chaudhary, who works in a school at Tilak Nagar. She said, "Online classes are fun as my children (students) who are of class V or VI are getting to learn the digital world. They are liking the new form of teaching as our traditional chalk and duster have been replaced with videos and more digital forms of explanation."
"This helps students to understand the concept clearly and to store in their memory for a longer period," she added.